Definition of abeam in English:



  • 1On a line at right angles to a ship's or an aircraft's length.

    ‘the lighthouse was abeam at noon’
    • ‘Be consistent - drop notches of flaps in the same place on every landing, e.g., first notch when you're downwind abeam, second on base, last notch on final.’
    • ‘I heard him tell tower we were abeam and landing.’
    • ‘Fags were most easily located when the search heading was abeam to the wind direction, so that the pennant presented the greatest visible surface area.’
    • ‘That student flew wide abeam and long in the groove.’
    • ‘It's when the breeze comes from the side, and slightly abaft of abeam, that a vessel can achieve its fastest point of sail.’
    • ‘He reported abeam, and tower cleared him to land on runway 24 left.’
    • ‘The ship won't point into the wind, you have to have the wind astern or at least abeam.’
    • ‘After burning down fuel, we flew by the ship, close abeam.’
    • ‘Because the ram was the only ship-smashing weapon available, fleets fought in line abeam so as to present as many rams to the enemy as possible.’
    in a row, side by side, alongside, level, abeam, on a level, beside each other, shoulder to shoulder, cheek by jowl
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1abeam of Opposite the middle of (a ship or aircraft)
      ‘she was lying almost abeam of us’
      as preposition ‘before I knew it, I was abeam the ship’
      • ‘The airplane impacted a swampy area inverted, abeam of the departure end of Runway 20 and about 120 south of the runway.’
      • ‘He instructed an exhausted, unqualified third mate to turn the ship when it came abeam of Busby Island.’
      • ‘To prepare for our return, the DDG was to remain 150 miles abeam of West Palm Beach to fuel us.’
      • ‘For unknown reasons, as it crossed the bar, the vessel turned northwest bringing it abeam of the breaking waves.’
      • ‘Most angles were measured when animals were passing abeam of the plane.’


Mid 19th century: from a- (expressing general direction) + beam.